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Blueseventy Thermal Reaction Review

The Blue Seventy Thermal Reaction Winter wetsuit costs around 15% more than the summer version of the Blue Seventy Reaction, so I decided to hire this wetsuit first for 2 weeks from my friends at Tri Wetsuit Hire to see if it is worth the additional cost and here are my findings…
 


The Thermal Reaction comes with all the same features as the Reaction but with the addition of a thermal liner that Blue70 call Zirconium.  The liner runs throughout the suit and has a wool-like feel. Blue70 say that it absorbs less water, dries quickly and provides better cold protection.
 
To set the context I have been a triathlete for 10 years and have completed events from Sprint to Long Course distances for fun, and as an age-grouper representing my country.
 
Being of very light build I feel the cold when swimming and I was interested to see if a thermal wetsuit would actually make a difference, and in short it did.
 
The Ziconium liner felt warm before getting in the water and on getting into the lake it felt there was less water entering the suit before it was fully saturated. Once swimming I could feel the water in the suit warming and maintaining my body temperature. The water temperature was around 14c, which although is not that cold, it’s cold enough to make exposed parts of the body feel numb.  In my summer suit I would be feeling the cold after twenty minutes, but in this suit after 40 minutes I could have easily continued. 
 
Despite the additional lining there was no perceivable different in feel when swimming from my summer suit. I used the ‘SM’ size and although I am two inches taller and one kilogram less than Blue70 sizing chart the suit fitted well. The neck shape was comfortable, providing a good seal from water ingress, but not feeling restrictive around the neck. Taking the suit off was as easy and quick as my summer suit.
 

I also tried out the Blue Seventy thermal gloves and socks. Even with my hands and feet feeling cold after the first swim, putting these on soon warmed them up. The socks are barely noticeable while swimming, the gloves took a little while to get used to. Initially if felt hard work to swim in the gloves, but I soon realised that the increased surface area of the gloves provided an increased pull on the water, and that I was swimming faster.  Once I got used to not feeling the water on the surface of my hands it felt great to have them warm.
 
To summarise the wetsuit does keep you warmer than a summer suit and the extra lining did not affect my swimming. This suit would allow me to start swimming earlier in the year and extend the season further into autumn without feeling the cold. Given that I feel the cold on longer swims, on all but the hottest of English summer days, I’d consider using this suit for long swims during the summer. This I feel would justify the additional cost.  If however you only feel the cold either side of the summer, renting this suit would be a more cost effective option.

 

Pictures and blog by Mark Ross owner of Kairos Multisport

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